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Remembering Johann Johannsson / musicOMH

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The work of Jóhann Jóhannsson was richly emotive and deeply human in its approach, drawing vivid parallels between mankind and the world we inhabit. It's a claim not many artists can make. The Icelander's death at the unjustly young age of 48 comes as a shock on many levels. He had been releasing music for over 15 years. The early focus was on concepts; his ambition immediately made clear with big ideas translated into wonderfully articulate and deeply meaningful musical statements.

Bigger and higher profile scores were on their way, and Jóhannsson won Best Film Composer of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards for his score to Arrival. Around this time his 10th and final album Orphée was released. Inspired by Ovid's interpretation of the myth, it reaffirmed his ability to bring great emotion from chamber-sized forces and smaller cells of melodic material. Jóhannsson's final work was the soundtrack to James Marsh's The Mercy, the film poignantly released on the day of his death. The quality never dropped, the guiding principles never were lost, the direction never anything other than firmly forward-facing.